Along with the ever so familiar green and yellow, patrons, golfers and all past champions alike must familiarize themselves with the newest color that represents the masters; pink. That would be the iconic, unmistakable pink driver of one Bubba Watson, the 2012 Masters Champion.
Born Gerry Lester Watson, Jr. on November 5, 1978 Bubba has always represented free spirit. Originally from Bagdad, Fla. Watson now calls Arizona home where he lives with his wife Angie and newly adopted son Caleb. His life has been full of ups and downs, scares and triumphs, and his weekend at the 76th Masters was no different.
Watson spent the whole weekend near the top of the leaderboard but never broke through until late Sunday. At the end of day one, Lee Westwood was atop the leaderboard. Fred Couples, the 52-year-old 1992 Masters Champ was in first at the end of day two.
Lurking behind Couples was Jason Dufner, Lee Westwood, Louis Oosthuizen, world number two Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Paul Lawrie, and then there was Bubba.
When Sunday came around, there were familiar names and storylines surrounding the culmination of the tournament. Tiger Woods was in his Sunday red, despite a disappointing effort throughout the weekend, not breaking below par in a single round. Phil Mickelson found himself at the top of the board in the final pairing in search of his fourth green jacket. And the only man to win twice on the PGA tour this year, Hunter Mahan, found himself only a few shots behind the leader in the third to last group.
Once again there was Bubba, quietly having an outstanding tournament, set to tee off with Louis Oosthuizen in the second to last group.
The early Sunday favorite, Phil Mickelson, saw his score fall early after a triple-bogey but was able to claw his way back for a tied for third finish.
Englishman Lee Westwood started the day -3 and had four late birdies to end the tournament at -8 and also tied for third. Westwood frequently finds himself finishing in the top -3 at majors it seems. One would be inclined to think the 38-year-old is soon due to break through and capture his major victory.
Oosthuizen and Watson undoubtedly stole the show on Sunday. Oosthuizen had a double eagle on the Par 5 second hole to jump start his round early. Watson played a steady front nine birdying the second and fifth holes. On the back nine, Watson started shaky, bogeying 12 but came back huge, birdying 13 through 16 to get to -10 to tie Oosthuizen on top of the leaderboard. The duo pared their final two holes to send it to a sudden death playoff.
For the first hole of the playoff, the two re-played the 18th hole. They both went on to par the 18th for the second time in the past half-hour.
Oosthuizen’s long time friend, fellow countryman and 2011 Masters Champion Charl Schwartzel waited nervously in the shadows waiting to present a Green Jacket to the winner of the Masters.
Watson’s and Oosthuizen’s next hole was the Par 4 10th. Watson’s tee shot hooked right deep into the trees leaving him without a view of the green. Oosthuizen was just off the fairway but his second shot failed to get up onto the green. Then, from deep in the trees, Watson pulled a 52-degree wedge and shot a draw that came about 40 yards left to right leaving him not only on the green but within distance to win the tournament. Oosthuizen got his ball up onto the green leaving him a chance at par. His par putt went right over the outside edge of the hole and Oosthuizen would tap in for bogey. This left Bubba Watson with two putts to win the Masters. Watson’s first putt barley missed leaving him a 6 inch tap in for the win.
“I never got this far in my dreams so I have no idea what to say,” Watson was quoted as saying.
Watson had defied all odds. Without a single golf lesson or watching himself on tape, he had won the Masters.